The programming teams at the UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center and University Museum of Contemporary Art present two student-forward programs during the month of October, beginning with the first installment of the student-curated Bright Moments Series on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
The Bright Moments Series is named after the Fine Arts Center’s popular summer music festival from the 1980s and 90s. The Bright Moments Festival was an admired community event, held at the campus pond each July. Similar to its namesake, this new series will nurture a vibrant, stimulated and engaged campus community, while also exposing students and the campus to a variety of diverse artistry.
“The process for starting this program was just as important as the program itself,” says Yvonne Mendez, director of education and engagement at the UMass Fine Arts Center, and the Bright Moments Coordinator. “Last year we began a process of reaching out to students to involve them more in what we do. Then the pandemic hit and everything stopped. This new series is our return to that effort.”
Led by Carolyn Parker-Fairbain, a junior at UMass, the Fine Arts Center convened a small group of students, and along with staff, they reviewed the performative work of UMass students, alumni and local artists. With intention, the group chose a variety of work with student interests in mind, including spoken word artists, solo vocalists, full bands, dancers and drummers as well visual artists. On October 21, the series launches with:
- Taylor Mickens, UMass senior and solo vocalist
- Jiun Tseng, UMass sophomore and visual artist
- Nathalie Amazan, a 2020 UMass alum and spoken word artist
- Deja Carr, solo vocalist and UMass alumni who has performed locally and on stage during Jazz in July
- Bomba de Aqui, a high energy bomba y plena group based in Springfield, MA
The program will premiere at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21 via the Fine Arts Center’s YouTube and Facebook channels, and will be available for on-demand viewing at fineartscenter.com/ForStudents. At present, the goal is to present one installment of The Bright Moments Series per semester. More students are encouraged to get involved by contacting Yvonne Mendez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following week on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. ET, the University Museum of Contemporary Art hosts the For Freedoms Virtual Town Hall. Designed by the For Freedoms Student Organizing Committee also led by Parker-Fairbain, this virtual gathering brings together students, artists, and creative thinkers to discuss ideas around democracy, civic engagement, activism, and protest before the upcoming presidential election. It includes an introduction to the Museum’s spring 2021 exhibition of the same name. This Town Hall event and the spring exhibition are sponsored by Florence Bank. Town Hall registrations are free and open to all at umass.edu/umca.
The UMass Fine Arts Center is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts through the New England Arts Resilience Fund, part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with major funding from the federal CARES Act from the National Endowment for the Arts.